Saint Vincent Academy’s Sister June Favata is “Newark’s Cornerstone” for 2017

Sister June Favata, who has been an educator at Saint Vincent Academy in Newark for more than 45 years, is this year’s winner of Newark’s Cornerstones. Prudential Financial, Prudential Center, and the New Jersey Devils launched Newark’s Cornerstones in the fall of 2016.

Whole Foods will offer a series of free in-store community events throughout April

Whole Foods Market of Newark (Hahne’s Building, 633 Broad Street) will nearly a dozen free community programs from now until the end of the month.

For kids, families, and the young at heart, Whole Foods will offer an art-centered food prep class (Tuesday, April 11), Trivia Night (April 13), and DIY Indoor Garden Seminar (April 22), and will support the YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day event at Military Park on April 29th.

In the health and fitness category, Dr. Akua Woolbright, a nutritional science expert and eight-year veteran of Whole Foods who founded the company’s Health Starts Here program, will lead classes for the supermarket’s “Let’s Talk Food, Newark!” series. April’s healthy eating classes will focus on identifying nutrient-rich foods (April 10 and April 24) and eating healthily on a budget (April 17).

Further to eating on a budget, Whole Foods will offer a store tour on April 19th with an emphasis on maximizing your shopping budget in the store, while an April 21st Earth Day event will showcase the store’s eco-consciousness by enabling shoppers to swap a new or used house cleaning product for its Whole Foods counterpart.

Lastly, Whole Foods is one of a number of businesses that will support a Classic Car Show and Men’s Brain Health Fair on April 22nd at Rutgers-Newark with a $100 store gift certificate for a random drawing winner.

See all of Whole Food’s events below, and more events on our calendar.

Newark deserves quality public transportation. Here are three tactics to help get us there.

Newark deserves quality public transportation. Here are three tactics to help get us there.

by Brendan Latimer | Op-Ed Contributor | April 7, 2017

There is a quiet drama playing out on Newark streets. It is a door-to-door struggle felt by isolated pockets of the city, strained by an enormous physical gulf.

Consider this from the New York Times:

In a large, continuing study of upward mobility based at Harvard, commuting time has emerged as the single strongest factor in the odds of escaping poverty. The longer an average commute in a given county, the worse the chances of low-income families there moving up the ladder.

In Newark, the problem is grave. While the median income hovers at $30,966, eight percent of residents trek to work on “super-commutes” (exceeding 90 minutes), compared with the national average of 2.8 percent. To an even casual observer, bunched buses and rush-hour traffic suggest a philosophical reckoning is in the offing.

Simply put: Newarkers need a fast, frequent, reliable, and affordable way to get around their city. As we begin to welcome more millennials, tourists, and development — and grapple with its implications — creating a first-class transit network will be a policy imperative. Here are three cost-effective, tactical solutions to consider:

Implement best practices.

According to Transit Center, a transportation policy group, cities can revitalize their streets with streamlined simplicity. By physically separating bus lanes with traffic cones, priority corridors — like Broad and Market streets — will have little interference from rush hour traffic, reducing overall travel time and clearing the way for express routes and future upgrades.

A makeshift dedicated bus lane in Everett, Massachusetts prevents rush hour traffic from interfering with buses. Photo: The Boston Globe

Respect riders!

Thousands of Newarkers take public transit every day, yet suffer the indignity of standing in the rain or snow — or sweltering in the hot summer sun — without a shelter over their heads. The absence of this basic amenity at many stops signifies a lack of concern by New Jersey Transit, adding to commuter frustration. Studies show that even a basic bus shelter measurably decreases perceived commuter wait times, encouraging broader ridership overall.

A lack of bus shelters indicate neglect, and markets transit as an unappealing transit alternative. While nothing I’ve seen in Newark rivals Streetsblog’s 2016 winner of “Sorriest Bus Stop in America,” many Newark commuters can relate.

Enter the 21st century.

Install a convenient tap-and-go, off-board payment system that applies to the whole city, not just certain zones. There is a growing movement in the transit community for “Mobility as a Service,” where agencies and providers rethink the way they market their services — particularly in the age of Uber. Creating an app to refill a tap-and-go card — much like PATH already does — would make taking the bus a more attractive option not only for regular riders, but also passing tourists and younger residents. Individuals lacking smartphones or a data plan could still opt in; the plan would mandate a call center specifically for this service.

Tap-and-go fare payment systems reduce boarding time and makes riding the bus a convenience, rather than a headache. Photo: MasterCard News/Flickr

In many ways and in certain areas, transit is a civil right — a reminder of an era tainted by segregation, where train tracks divided race and class. Around the country, governments are taking pride in their people and investing in what matters. They acknowledge that mobility equals freedom.

It’s time for Newark to do the same.

Learn how to become a property owner at 2017 Newark Housing Summit

Learn how to become a property owner at 2017 Newark Housing Summit

by Vince Baglivo | April 6, 2017

Workshops covering a wide range of topics that can help people interested in becoming property owners will be on tap at the 2017 Newark Housing Summit on Saturday, April 8th from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at St. John’s Community Baptist Church, 1066 Bergen Street in Newark. Registration is free and lunch will be provided.

Presented by the City of Newark, the Department of Economic & Housing Development and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the event is being hosted by the Bergen-Lyons-Clinton Special Improvement District (BLCSID).

Topics will include the Homestead Auction Program, Foreclosure Prevention, Mortgage Loan Products, an Investor Workshop, a Credit Repair Class, a Developer Workshop, the Home Buyer Ready Program and Tax Abatements. For more information or to RSVP, click here to call 973.923.6200.

Newark Museum acquires painting by Gallery Aferro resident artist Jo-El Lopez

Puerto Rico born, Paterson-raised artist Jo-El Lopez has been a fixture on the Newark art scene in recent years, up to his current artist-in-residency at Gallery Aferro (73 Market Street).

His paintings have also appeared in other venues throughout the tri-state, including The Bronx Art Center, New Jersey City State University Gallery, and The Center for Contemporary Art.

Last week, Lopez notched a significant milestone in his career when Newark Museum acquired one of his paintings.

Millennial Guardian Angel made its debut in Lopez’ February 2016 “Speaking In Tongues” solo show at Aferro. The painting, which depicts a winged figure whose face is awash in the light of a mobile phone he cradles in his hands, is inspired by millennials’ “tech-based rituals that others find intriguing,” according to a press release about the Museum’s acquisition.

Millennial Guardian Angel will become part of the Museum’s permanent collection, and will also be included in a contemporary art installation in Newark Museum’s Seeing America galleries. Seeing America is comprised of seventeen galleries where more than 300 paintings and sculptures dating from 1730 to the present day are on display.

Contribute to! We’re looking for opinion and explanatory contributors, and are calling all thinkers, scholars and practitioners to share your point of view or expertise on a topic or event of importance to Newarkers. We’re accepting 600- to 1,000-word op-eds for possible publication on, so send your work to for consideration.

ICYMI: Mayor Baraka appears on MSNBC to discuss sanctuary cities, Trump’s budget and Booker for president

Mayor Ras Baraka appeared on Al Sharpton’s “Politics Nation” program on MSNBC Sunday morning to discuss his stance on the Trump administration’s threat to pull federal funding from sanctuary cities; Trump’s recent budget proposal, which would result in less funds for HUD, Meals on Wheels, and other programs that significant portions of Newarkers rely on; and Senator Cory Booker’s presidential prospects.


Newark will hold its first-ever downtown living tour in May

What is it like to live downtown Newark?

Soon, those who are curious will have an opportunity to get a glimpse of downtown living for themselves.

Newark Downtown District, the business improvement district whose mission is to increase the commercial viability of downtown Newark, will produce the city’s first-ever Downtown Newark Living Tour this coming Saturday, May 20th. The event, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is free, and registration is already open.

The free tour will enable participants to experience downtown living through a mix of residential open houses, cultural events and special deals at local restaurants. Registrants will receive a wristband that unlocks access to model apartments, discounts and events throughout downtown. From there, the tour will be self-guided, with participants having the option to walk or use a free shuttle that Newark Downtown District will make available.

Living tours have been tried in other cities looking to show off their downtowns, including in Syracuse, Buffalo, Austin, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Detroit.

Stay tuned to as participating residential buildings, restaurants and events are confirmed.

Best-selling New York Times author Jeff Hobbs will keynote Conservancy’s bi-annual City Bloom Luncheon

Jeff Hobbs, author of “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace,” will be the keynote speaker at Greater Newark Conservancy’s bi-annual City Bloom Luncheon on Thursday, May 11, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at Nanina’s in The Park in Belleville.  To reserve tickets online, visit or call 973.642.4646 for more information.

A New York Times best seller, “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace” is the story of Hobbs’ college roommate, an academic all-star with a bright future that ended all too soon because of his ties to crime and violence in the streets of his hometown of Newark.

Two special honorees will also be recognized at the luncheon benefiting the Conservancy’s Newark Youth Leadership Project (NYLP); Dr. Robert L. Johnson, Dean of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Newark’s RBH Group, LLC.

Robert L. Johnson, MD, FAAP is The Sharon and Joseph L. Muscarelle Endowed Dean, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School ( His clinical expertise and research focuses on adolescent physical and mental health, adolescent HIV, adolescent violence, adolescent sexuality and family strengthening. He Chairs the New Jersey Governor’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, the Newark Ryan White Planning Council, and the Board of Deacons at Union Baptist Church in Orange, N.J.

Based in downtown Newark, RBH Group, LLC ( is a leader in the city’s current renaissance, with Teacher’s Village and other projects in Newark among the millions of square feet of commercial and residential real estate the company has acquired, developed, rehabilitated and/or operated under the leadership of founding partner and CEO Ron Beit.

NYLP is a year-round program for high school students from Newark and college students from around New Jersey. It emphasizes job training and seeks to improve conditions in the urban community by increasing employability and earning potential. NYLP’s three major goals are development of leadership skills, educational and career enrichment through instruction, tutoring and field trips, and development of employment-related skills.

“Since 1999, programs like NYLP have helped the Conservancy touch the lives of thousands of young adults eager to learn about the environment and urban agriculture, with many continuing their educations at top colleges and universities and finding successful career opportunities,” noted the Conservancy’s Executive Director, Robin Dougherty.

“As we celebrate our 30th Anniversary this year, we hope the luncheon and our honored guests will bring together longtime supporters and new to help continue Conservancy programs that provide our young people with an education that takes them beyond the conventional classroom.”

Newark art galleries will throw open their doors this weekend with series of “Open Studios” events

A number of Newark art spaces will invite locals to exhibit openings and closings, performances, and artist talks this upcoming Saturday, April 1st, as they throw open their doors for Spring Open Studios events.

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Gallery Aferro and Index Art Center (IAC) will team up for Art Block!, which will see the two galleries, which are located on the same downtown block, invite people to tour their artist studios, view exhibits, and enjoy the Activate Market Street public art installations in Market Street storefronts.

IAC (237 Washington Street) will feature Art and Artifacts of Newark, an exhibit comprised of Newark artwork made from Newark artifacts by Newark artists, and curated by resident curator Matthew Gosser. The first featured Art and Artifacts artist will be Anker West. Also on view will be Landholdings, a multimedia exhibition focused on questioning the ownership and stewardship of land, and the Fern & Fossil exhibition, which will also feature handmade goods and plants for sale (and is vying for a $10,000 grand prize in this year’s Etsy Small Business Contest–vote!).

Around the corner at Gallery Aferro (73 Market Street), attendees will be able to tour more than 20 artist studios and hear a handful of artists give talks about their work, including artist Kevin Durkin, who will speak about his solo exhibition, Only Home, on display in the main gallery at Gallery Aferro.

Spring Open Studios at Gateway Project Spaces (2 Gateway Center) will come with a side of brunch. From noon to 5 p.m., three dozen artists and other projects and ventures, including coworking space Equal Space and Public Radio For All, will open up for tours. Special pop-up art installations and performances will also be featured.

Saturday will also see the opening reception for the Metro31 Redux group exhibition at City Without Walls (cWOW) from 5 until 8 p.m. The annual Metro show, now in its third decade, will feature 60 works of art by 49 artists. One exhibiting artist will be awarded the cWOW Excellence Award, and another two a cWOW Merit Award. Participating artists were selected for the exhibit by a three-person jury comprised of New Jersey State Museum Executive Director Margaret O’Reilly, ARTNOIR Co-Founder Larry Ossei-Mensah, and culture journalist Siddhartha Mitter.

Meanwhile at the Hahne’s building, Newark Print Shop will host its Open Studio alongside the closing reception for the Transitions group exhibit from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The inaugural exhibit at Newark Print Shop’s new location in Hahne’s, Transitions includes work from 14 former Newark Print Shop artists-in-residence, as well as murals by artists BaJa Ukweli and Layqa Nuna Yawar.

And on the fourth floor at Hahne’s, Paul Robeson Galleries artist-in-residence Kati Vilim will have open studio from 3 to 6 p.m. The Budapest native is Paul Robeson Galleries’ first resident artist.

Shine Snapcon will unmask cosplay enthusiasts during marathon portrait sessions at Express Newark

What motivates people to dress up in elaborate costumes to play act as a character who intrigues them?

If you’re into cosplay, what motivates you?

An upcoming event will try to unpack those very questions. Shine Snapcon, which will take place April 7th through 9th at Express Newark, will see Rutgers-Newark photography students use photography and video portraiture to uncover the stories of cosplay enthusiasts.

Short for “costume play”, the subculture sees people–often comic book and anime enthusiasts–don character attire and role play as that character. Comic book and other fan conventions are popular cosplay venues. Shine Snapcon will involve portrait sessions with local cosplayers in order to unveil who they are beneath their costumes, and explore why they’ve engaged in the subculture.

Twenty-four two-hour sessions profiling cosplay-engaging individuals and groups will take place non-stop over 48 hours. The extended length of the sessions is meant to give the students time to render unique, in-depth and dimensional portraits of each subject, rather than quick snapshots in the style of traditional photo booths. As of this publishing, slots are still available for the profiles. Minors are welcome to participate, but must be accompanied by an adult.

Rutgers-Newark photography professor Nick Kline runs Shine Portrait Studio, which is located at Express Newark in the newly renovated Hahne’s building. Shine was conceived as a community space “dedicated to education, business, community building and entrepreneurship,” according to a Rutgers-Newark writeup about the facility.

Featured image by flickr user Jason Grey